In the past few weeks, several blogs have posted articles critical to the campaign spearheaded by President Obama, to transform the 10th anniversary commemoration of 9/11 around the world into what I believe he and his handlers intend is a whitewash of actual horrific circumstances surrounding the event. The WH has issued 2 separate guidelines for conversation and commemoration, one to domestic public officials and government employees and one to embassy staff. (No official has gone on record claiming responsibility for either the content or the tone of these edicts and so, I will not cite to the articles that reference these anonymous instructions.) Basically, we are told to avoid characterizations that what happened in NYC is unique – after all, al Qaeda is attacking all over the world – and, to downplay the involvement of al Qaeda, presumably lest we incite reprisals predicated on the U.S. involvement in his death.
I see these transparent attempts to re-frame the narrative as adding insult to injury.
For starters, citizens from 115 countries were among the approximately 3,000 killed on 9/11. Thus, by definition, remembering the victims of 9/11 already is ‘international.” As for toning down the remembrances lest we be mistakenly perceived as considering ourselves special, well, judging by the world reaction to the attack, ‘we’ are not the only ones who ‘get’ the significance of the event, or who were shocked by it. Even those nations more accustomed to terrorism carried out on their home turf appear to have been equally traumatized.
Rather, what is being proposed here is that the survivors around the world, keep our collective mouths shut about not just the effect of those events but also the causes, in the hope that those responsible for promoting and carrying out such atrocities against humanity avoid well-earned condemnation for their ongoing crimes. It is this artificial stifling of open honest dialogue that perpetuates such barbaric conduct. That is, we cannot prevent such calamities in the future unless we understand what went wrong in the past.
Even if this means, ‘bad mouthing’ some Muslims.
Reading the President’s imposed ‘take’ on 9/11 triggered memories of 2 separate conversations which occurred years ago. In one, a white woman was recounting that she was mugged by a black man at night in the parking lot of our school. She said, she heard footsteps as he approached from behind, and became nervous. She even turned around and saw he was following her. I asked why at that moment, she didn’t yell for help. She said, the stranger was black, and she set aside her fear he would mug her because she felt guilty that her feelings might evidence she was racist.
In the other, a white woman admitted she was prejudiced against blacks, supporting her feelings by ‘recounting’ an incident in which approaching young black males were accosting passersby. What ‘saved’ her was an elderly black couple who, seeing her obvious distress, flanked her on either side and walked her down the block. She sounded genuinely grateful for their heroic act. I asked why she hated all blacks because of the marauding youths but didn’t love all blacks because of the courage of the couple. She didn’t answer.
At the risk of oversimplifying, I would say men who approach women alone in a parking lot at night are rightly feared; an elderly couple who intervene to protect a stranger from marauding youths are rightly revered; and self-identified members of the terrorist group, al Qaeda, who commandeer passenger airplanes and, shouting Allahu Akbar in Arabic, fly them into occupied skyscrapers in NYC, killing thousands, are rightly called Muslim murderers.